KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 19: While leaving for Nepal three months ago, Nar Thapa of Udayapur - a migrant worker - took a bus from his workplace in Malaysia to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
The bus and rail station of the airport is situated two storeys below the airport platform and people have to take a lift from there to reach the airport counter. On that day, Thapa got off the bus at the same station.
Immediately after Thapa, who was then carrying a thoroughly packed baggage, got off the bus, two men approached him. They introduced themselves as employees of the airport and claimed that they were there to help the passengers.
After they asked him which flight he was boarding and where he was going, Thapa told them that he was headed for Kathmandu. Then, they asked him to produce his passport. Frightened by the request, Thapa refused to produce his passport. Instead, he continued walking to the lift. The duo, however, followed him and stepped in the lift with him.
After being alone in the lift with Thapa, the duo started asking him for money. In the end, Thapa paid the duo 50 Malaysian Ringgit and stormed out of the lift to the airport counter. Without telling anyone what had happened, Thapa boarded the flight back home.
“I feared that if I had reported the incident to the police, I could have landed in another trouble and consequently missed my flight,” he said.
Thapa is not the first Nepali citizen who has been defrauded at the Malaysian airport. Nepali migrant workers returning home, generally get looted at the airport daily. Bangladeshis and Arab people, too, face the same problem.
According to the Nepali Ambassador to Malaysia, Kumar Raj Kharel, the Nepali migrant workers land in the problem primarily because they are not warned about it. “One needs to make use of the lift to reach the airport from the train and bus station,” Kharel told Republica, “It has been found that the section from the bus and train station to the lift is prone to such incidents.” He added that the Nepali Embassy has repeatedly drawn the attention of the Malaysian home ministry, immigration department, and security agencies towards the problem. As a result, the Malaysian government wrote an email to the embassy last week to inform that some individuals involved in such acts have been arrested.
Ambassador Kharel added that there have been no complaints of such acts ever since. “Also, we have informed the Nepali citizens to take precautions at the airport,” he said.